15 August 2010

Save us, Doctrine Man!!

The US military's Operations Order (OPORD) can be traced to the simple, five-section combat orders written by the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus, the 17th Century general who founded the Swedish Empire. British historian B.H. Liddell Hart writes in "Great Captains Unveiled":

Gustavus' orders are a model of which a modern staff officer might be proud, the paragraphs numbered, each short, crisp, and ebmodying one specific point; the whole in a logical sequence that is reminiscent of modern practice--information as to the enemy, intention of the commander, and method of execution first, then administrative arrangements, and finally inter-communication.
Though Adolphus issued such orders to fight set-piece battles in the 17th Century, modern armies have used the OPORD to plan all sorts of events--from air assaults to picnics.

Recently, invoking doctrine, military organizations the world over have taken to issuing a daily or weekly "fragmentary order", or "FRAGO", to disseminate routine administrative information. Thus, Gustavus Adolphus' simple orders for conducting linear battles have evolved into, well, this:


Purpose.To expedite customer service of [redacted] Burger King Eatery during lunch hours.
Task to Subordinate Units: See Coordinating Instructions.

Coordinating Instructions.
Please know what menu item or value meal number being purchased as soon as possible. 
Have money ready. 
Please have one person speak at a time. 
Know what size value meal (if applicable).
Know what kind of drink you desire. 
Be courteous to eatery staff. 
The POC for this information is the restaurant manager, [redacted].
Wait a second, this isn't in the FM 3-0.

Doctrine Man, please help us!


Anonymous said...

Is this a joke?

I do recall the instructors at CGSC laughing at the fact that we received a 12 page OPORD in order to conduct a class fun run.

Doctrine Man said...

The omission of a concept of operations explains why the service at BK is always so consistently crappy. Probably explains the "fancy" sauce I end up with for complaining.

No one, and I mean no one, spells "fun" in the college. Only they can ruin something as simple as PT with a 12-page OPORD...almost as good as the open book tests on doctrine! "Copy this paragraph for a CGSC B"!

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

Well I don't know
But I've heard rumors
That old Starbuck
Is wearin' bloomers

Your left
Your left
Your military left ...

Unknown said...

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden also is said to have published the military code of justice upon which the first English Articles of War, and hence the first U.S. version, were based. Of course around 1952 the Articles of War were replaced by the UCMJ, which incorporated many features of the earlier legal code.

I saw an article from a few years ago in which a JAG guy said the role of Gustavus Adolphus in developing the current model of military justice may have been exaggerated in historical writings because the contributions of the predecessors upon which he based his law have either been lost or have been inaccessable to historians.

Either way, the old Swedish Articles of War were translated and published in London during the late 1600s, and shortly thereafter the English published their own Articles of War. The original American version was virtually a reprint of the old British code.